Small is beautiful but large is necessary internet gis for the masses
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Small is Beautiful but Large is Necessary: Internet GIS for the Masses. Gemma Davies Duncan Whyatt Alan Blackburn Department of Geography, Lancaster University. http://gis.lancs.ac.ukemail: [email protected] Introduction and Aims.

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Small is beautiful but large is necessary internet gis for the masses

Small is Beautiful but Large is Necessary: Internet GIS for the Masses

Gemma Davies

Duncan Whyatt

Alan Blackburn

Department of Geography, Lancaster University.

http://gis.lancs.ac.ukemail: [email protected]


Introduction and aims

Introduction and Aims

  • Geog120 – First year module in Cartography, GIS and Remote Sensing (New in 2003/4)

  • Aims:

    • Introduce basic concepts of Cartography, GIS and Remote Sensing, drawing on links between them and how they fit together

    • Demonstrate breadth of applications in human, environmental and physical aspects of geography


The challenge

The Challenge

  • Provide hands on experience of Cartography, GIS and RS, ………but circa 230 students each year

  • Formal practical classes impossible due to insufficient staff resources and space in computer labs

  • Work is team marked hence needs to be straight forward, yet challenging enough to differentiate across the full range of abilities


Practical skills

Practical Skills

  • Cartography – basic map design

  • GIS – spatial and attribute query

  • RS – introduction to a range of images, and information that can be extracted

  • Examples drawn from SPEGIS


Spegis

SPEGIS

  • Aims:

    • Develop an integrated GIS to enhance undergraduate and postgraduate teaching and learning in Geography.

    • Collect as much spatially referenced data as possible for the Silverdale peninsula and River Kent estuary

  • Data and application examples from this project used as the focus for this module

  • Many outside organization have contributed data and research ideas to the project.


Gemma davies duncan whyatt alan blackburn department of geography lancaster university

Cumbria

Arnside and

Silverdale AONB


Delivery meeting the technical challenge

Delivery – Meeting the Technical Challenge

  • Hands on experience through a series of self-guided assessed practical sessions

  • Web based GIS delivered using ArcIMS with Java based feature services in order to achieve functionality required

  • Provide students with 24 hour access to practical material

  • Support for practicals provided via an on-line discussion site, manned on a rota by a team of demonstrators


Why arcims

Why ArcIMS?

  • Provides simplified interface for students

  • Can be linked easily to other supporting material within a web based environment

  • Ease of access for students from their own machines in their own time

  • Part of the ESRI product range used in subsequent years


Practical assessments

Practical Assessments

  • Cartography – Modify display properties

    of topographic and chloropleth map


Gemma davies duncan whyatt alan blackburn department of geography lancaster university

2. GIS – Series of spatial and attribute queries, followed by short reflection on tasks under taken

Name the restaurant(s) within 2km of Arnside railway station


Gemma davies duncan whyatt alan blackburn department of geography lancaster university

3. Remote Sensing – Questions based on image interpretation

The land surface appears darker in the IR image acquired at 11:30 than in the image from 7:30. Why?

In the true colour composite image areas of dense vegetation appear green but in the false colour

composite they appear red. Why?


Academic limitations of arcims

Academic Limitations of ArcIMS

  • Cartography - Unable to add legends, scale bars etc to maps and print quality poor

  • GIS - Only very simple spatial and attribute queries possible. Little other functionality

  • Remote Sensing – No image processing available, unable to even query the value of a pixel


Technical issues

Technical Issues

  • To use ArcIMS Java feature services the local machine needs the right JRE and a viewer installing. This restricts where practicals can be accessed from

  • Year 1 – Ran fairly smoothly

  • Year 2

    • Feature services failed on regular basis

    • Students failed to get ArcIMS working in their rooms and therefore restricted to working in department’s main teaching lab, partly due to changes in JRE security

    • ArcExplorer used as a back up


The student perspective

The Student Perspective

  • Overall students seemed to find the sessions easy to follow, despite technical glitches

“The practicals were easy to follow, provided time was allowed for

ArcIMS problems. I am looking forward to GIS?RS in the 2nd year”

“Have alternative locations to be able to do the

practicals as labs are often booked out for lessons”

“When ArcIMS is working the practicals are interesting,

but it can be frustrating when it does not work”

“Stability of ArcIMS only improvement required.

Especially on remote PCs, i.e. ones in study bedrooms”

“I have bought a lap-top for completing computer

based tasks and expect to be able to use it”


Our conclusions

Our Conclusions

  • Despite its limitations, fairly happy with ArcIMS solution

  • Fulfilled delivery of basic concepts – evident in students progressing to 2nd year

  • Assessment and marking seem effective

  • Technical problems this year’s main concern – need to resolve before next year

  • Failed to provide 24 hour access expected


The future

The Future

  • Intend to keep using ArcIMS, but remain open to alternative ideas

  • Would like better ESRI support for use of feature based services in ArcIMS

  • Increase sharing of experience with GIS community

  • GEES forum for discussion for Web-based GIS applications?


Any comments or questions

Any comments or questions?

What are your experiences of using web based GIS or teaching introductory concepts to large groups?


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